Fulton County

Oppenheim-Ephratah School District hires Barr as new building principal

Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School District has selected a teacher and case manager with a strong bac

Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School District has selected a teacher and case manager with a strong background in helping students at-risk as its new building principal.

The Board of Education last week named Brett W. Barr to the position. Barr’s appointment takes effect July 30. He will be paid $75,000 during his three-year probationary contract, said school Superintendent Dan Russom. He and Barr are the district’s only administrators.

Barr will oversee a building that houses grades pre-K through 12. The district has only one building. He replaces Theodore Kawryga, who became interim building principal after Christopher Fatta left the position to become elementary principal in the St. Johnsville Central School District.

Prior to joining the district, Barr was a case manager for Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth. Before that, he taught business education at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School for 10 years, where he also served as a basketball, baseball and assistant football coach, class adviser and lead teacher for the district’s elementary school.

Barr has served as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Cobleskill’s School of Business.

Russom said Barr’s work experience with Berkshire Farm impressed both him and the board. Berkshire operates a large residential center for at-risk youth in Canaan and six group homes around the state.

“He worked with at-risk youths and that gave him some insight into helping us deal with students who are struggling and at-risk,” Russom said.

Barr went to work at Berkshire after his teaching position was cut in the Cobleskill-Richmondville school district, Russom said. “He went to work for Berkshire Farms as he was working toward his administrative certification, which allows him to be a building principal and superintendent,” he said. “He also came with strong credential from his experience at Cobbleskill-Richmondville.”

Barr is planning to move to the Johnstown area to be closer to work. Russom said Oppenheim-Ephratah does not have a residency requirement for its administrators.

There were 16 applicants for the building principal position and school officials interviewed five candidates before narrowing the field to two finalists. Finalists were introduced to the public during a community meeting late last month.

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